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City Plans to Discontinue Santa Monica Festival  

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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

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Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

March 8, 2017 -- After more than a quarter century, the City plans to say goodbye to the Santa Monica Festival, an annual celebration of spring in the bayside city that was temporarily canceled last year to make way for a much bigger, and costly, newcomer.

A City report issued last month says the festival, which would have turned 27 this year, is likely to be merged into “Coast,” which debuted last June 5 as the City’s first open-streets event and a celebration of the newly-opened Expo Light Rail and Colorado Esplanade.

Coast was so successful, City officials want it to come back this year and perhaps for years to come, according to the February 27 report by David Martin, the director of Planning and Community Development, and Karen Ginsberg, the director of Community and Cultural Services.

Staff is set to allocate $400,000 for the event, the report said.

Funding would come from “repurposing existing resources, such as those previously allocated for the Santa Monica Festival, the Pedestrian Action Plan Implementation CIP fund and other sources,” the report said.

The inaugural Coast event cost $354,000. The report said it was funded with City monies and a grant from Metro (the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority), which provided a “significant” sum not available this year ("Santa Monica Poised to Spend Nearly Half a Million on Expo Party," March 21, 2016).

The Santa Monica Festival was canceled last year because its typical May celebration coincided too closely with Coast, which also made use of the funding normally used for the festival.

Because the spring and summer is already packed with events, Coast will probably be held in October, the officials said.

About 50,000 people attended its debut last year, the report said ("Santa Monica Celebrates New Expo Line, Carless Alternatives," June 7, 2016).

They “enjoyed activity zones focusing on the arts, sustainability, and mobility with additional activities programmed along the approximately two-mile route,” it said.

“The opening up of streets to pedestrians and bicyclists enabled participants to experience Santa Monica in a new way, while also enjoying Expo Light Rail and investments that Santa Monica has made to serve pedestrians and cyclists,” the report said.

Combining the festival and Coast “would create efficiencies in the staff and community resources needed for both events,” officials said.

Coast would be expanded to allow community organizations to take part, something not included in last year’s event but a popular feature of the Santa Monica Festival.

The title of the event be be changed to Coast: Santa Monica’s Open Streets Festival.

During the event, Main Street (between Colorado Avenue and Marine Street), Colorado Avenue (between 4th Street and Ocean Avenue), and Ocean Avenue (between Wilshire Boulevard and Colorado Avenue) would be open to pedestrians and cyclists only.

Automobile traffic would be able to cross the event on Main Street at Olympic Drive, Pico Boulevard and Ocean Park Boulevard. Fourth Street would remain open for all traffic.

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